West Bank drive-by shooting victim dies of wounds

Malachy Moshe Rosenfeld, 25, was on the way home from a basketball game with his friends; family donates his corneas

One of four Israeli men who were wounded in a drive-by shooting terror attack near Shvut Rachel, is brought to the Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem on June 29, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
One of four Israeli men who were wounded in a drive-by shooting terror attack near Shvut Rachel, is brought to the Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem on June 29, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A 25-year-old man critically hurt in a shooting attack in the West Bank on Monday night died of his injuries Tuesday afternoon.

Malachy Moshe Rosenfeld was pronounced dead in the Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, a day after the car he was traveling in was shot at by a Palestinian assailant near the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel, north of Ramallah.

His three friends, with him in the car, were also wounded in the attack.

Rosenfeld is the brother of an Israeli Air Force pilot who died after getting caught in a flash flood near the Tzeelim river in 2002. Eliezer Rosenfeld, his father, lost his brother some years ago in a car accident in the army.

The funeral arrangements had not yet been announced. The Rosenfeld family said it would donate his corneas.

Ariel Bar Asher, a cousin, told the Ynet news website Malachy “took charge of the family after his brother died.”

“He was supposed to graduate college in a month,” he added.

Rosenfeld was sitting in the passenger’s seat and according to another of the victims, Yair Hoffer, sustained injuries to his torso and lower body.

Malachy Rosenfeld (Facebook)
Malachy Rosenfeld (Facebook)

Earlier Tuesday, Eliezer Rosenfeld urged the public to pray for his son’s recovery, telling the press outside of Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, “We are in a difficult hour. The entire nation of Israel is in a difficult hour.”

Hoffer, who was moved to the orthopedic ward for recovery, also requested that people pray for his injured friends, especially Rosenfeld. “We’re hoping that people will pray that it will be okay,” he told Army Radio.

Rosenfeld underwent surgery Monday night and was placed in the intensive care ward for further treatment, a hospital spokesman said.

The other two injured men were sent to Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital for treatment. One was set to undergo surgery Tuesday morning, and the second was to be transferred to the surgical ward later in the day.

The four, all of whom live in the West Bank Settlement of Kochav Hashahar, had been driving near Route 60, the main north-south artery running through the West Bank, when they were attacked.

“We were four friends coming back from a basketball game,” Hoffer, who was shot in both legs, said. “All in all, we played basketball, we had a good time, we joked around on our way back. We were just trying to get home.”

The friends turned onto the interchange near Shvut Rachel, where the car was hit by gunfire.

“I saw the car pull up and that seems to be the moment that they started firing,” Hoffer said.

“They fired the full magazine at us, it seems,” he told Army Radio. “We tried to duck, to cover our heads at least. We were screaming in pain from our injuries and we started yelling at the driver, ‘Go! Go! Go!'”

But, Hoffer explained in the Tuesday morning interview, the gunshots had apparently damaged the car and it came to a stop. They watched as the driver of the shooter’s car appeared to hesitate about whether to continue forward or turn back. Luckily, he said, the terrorists’ automobile kept going.

Friends of the victim, who were in a car a quarter of a mile behind them, quickly came to their aid.

Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told AFP it was not yet possible to determine whether the shooting was carried out by a lone attacker or small group, or was the work of a larger network. So far, no terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the shooting.

Following the attack the army deployed a large number of soldiers to search the vicinity for the perpetrators. The nearby settlements of Migdalim, Tapuah, Rachelim and Nofei Nehemia were placed on high-alert status. Troops reportedly set up checkpoints in the area and were inspecting vehicles for possible suspects.

Photos posted on social media showed the victims’ vehicle smeared with blood and riddled with bullet holes.

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The head of the Yesha Council, an umbrella movement of Jewish settlers, said the attack “joins a long line of serious terror incidents that began after the start of (the Muslim holy month of) Ramadan.”

Monday night’s attack was the sixth in the past two weeks. The IDF is on particularly high alert due to Ramadan, which usually ushers in a spike in violent incidents.

On June 19, a 25-year-old Israeli man, Danny Gonen, died after being shot near the settlement of Dolev, northwest of Jerusalem.

Last Sunday a Palestinian man stabbed and seriously injured an Israeli Border Police officer outside Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate. The assailant was shot and captured.

On Friday a Palestinian assailant was shot and killed by IDF soldiers after he opened fire on Israeli troops at a checkpoint in the West Bank. No soldiers were injured in the attack.

Times of Israel staff and AFP contributed to this report.

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